How to Keep Squirrels out of Screech Owl Box

How to Keep Squirrels out of Screech Owl Box

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There are several reasons to squirrel-proof a screech owl box, including keeping squirrels safe from becoming owl prey.

Squirrel-proofing your screech owl box also safeguards the box from getting gnawed through by squirrels, which can lead to larger predators getting inside and preying on the owls. 

In order to keep squirrels out of screech owl nesting boxes, you should apply naturally deterring scents/flavors to the area, using squirrel baffles on mounted boxes, setting up an owl decoy, and adding a metal ring around the box entrance. 

Below, we’ll explore the following topics regarding ways to keep squirrels out of screech owl boxes:

  • What should I use as natural squirrel repellent?
  • How can I scare squirrels away from the area? 
  • How do I keep squirrels from chewing through my screech owl box?
  • How do I keep squirrels off of a mounted screech owl box?

What Should I Use as Natural Squirrel Repellent?

One of the simplest, cheapest, and most natural ways to ward off squirrels from screech owl boxes is to use odors and tastes that they don’t like.

Fox squirrel type
Fox squirrel 

Squirrels are naturally going to veer away from strong odors, such as:

  • spicy
  • pungent
  • or sweet smells 

This is why many people will sprinkle spices or bits of things like paprika, peppermint oil, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic pepper, or pepper flakes on the vegetation surrounding their owl box. You can either sprinkle it directly, or you can dilute it slightly by adding it to a water mixture that you spray on the plants near the box. 

Squirrels will smell these strong odors, especially spices like cayenne pepper, and get turned off from eating vegetation or seeds nearby.

They especially do not like the taste. This method should help to keep squirrels from entering the area of the owl box and venturing inside for food. 

How Can I Scare Squirrels Away from the Area?

Another way to ward off garden squirrels from venturing up to a screech owl box is by using some kind of owl decoy. 

Owl decoys are basically fake owl figurines that looks life-like. You can put these in your yard or garden to ward off squirrels.

How Can I Scare Squirrels Away from screech owl box
Screech Owl box

Even though squirrels don’t have a ton of fear about crawling into an owl nesting box, they will get scared at the sight of an owl since owls are predators to them.

Note that if you choose to use an owl decoy in your garden or backyard, you’ll want to regularly move it to different locations.

From Experience: You can fool squirrels with the decoys at first, but if you keep them stationary, the squirrels will get used to their presence over time and venture back into the area.

How Do I Keep Squirrels from Chewing Through My Screech Owl Box?

One issue that occurs when squirrels get into screech owl boxes to try and gather food, is that they sometimes chew through the box.

This often happens around the entrance hole or opening of the nesting box. 

The reason that squirrels chew on things so intentionally is that their teeth continue to grow throughout their lives.

Therefore, they need a way to wear them down so they don’t get too long over time.

Chewing on things, especially sharp objects, also helps squirrels to sharpen their teeth so that they can use them more easily in the future. 

To keep squirrels from chewing through the nesting box, try using strong odors (as mentioned previously) or adding a metal ring or lining around the opening of the box. Although squirrels have sharp teeth, they aren’t quite powerful enough to chew their way through metal, which will deter them from continuing chewing at the nesting box’s opening. 

How Do I Keep Squirrels off of a Mounted Screech Owl Box?

When it comes to nesting boxes that you mount above the ground, squirrels will still find a way to get to them because they are very good climbers.

However, you can use a device called a “baffle” or “cone baffle” on the mount to keep squirrels from being able to climb to the top where the box is.

The baffle is basically a smooth, metal cone shape that goes around the mount or pole.

Douglas squirrel type in the US
Douglas squirrel

The way it’s situated, it sticks out further at the bottom than at the top, meaning that squirrels climbing up will get stuck and not have a way to climb up and over this baffle.

You can also use a material called “flashing” or “aluminum flashing” to deter squirrels from a screech owl box. The way to use flashing is to place it over the roof of the nesting box at a sharper angle and have it protrude far enough from the box to get in the way of squirrels.

This aluminum surface, as well as vinyl nesting box roofs, is too slippery for most squirrels to grip onto if they have jumped onto it from above. 

Flashing and baffles are both very effective ways to keep squirrels away from screech owl boxes, especially if the decoys and odor deterrents aren’t working well enough. 


If a squirrel intrudes on a screech owl box to nest or steal food, chances are that the screech owl won’t return again.

Those who keep a nesting box for owls in their garden or backyard often have a hard time deterring squirrels.

However, there are several easy ways to ward them off, including owl decoys, flashing, cone baffles, and natural odor deterrents.

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